calf muscle cramping, half marathon next week...HELP!

Hello all,

I went out for a run yesterday evening planning to do 8 miles, after 2 and a half miles I had to stop because my left calf was feeling stiff, after walking for a few minutes I tried to run again but I couldnt run at all as every time i tried to push off on that leg my calf muscle was cramping. It is now feeling extrememly tight, and on occasions sore, I am now limping a little.

I am supposed to be running the Bristol half marathin next week but not sure what to do. Does anyone have any advice on what to do to recover as soon as possible and whether or not it is still a good idea to race?

Thanks in advance!


  • That's a tough one and cramp is really hard to stop. Some common things you've probably already tried:

    Are you stretching them out after? Long stretches seem to help me.

    Are you cooking all your own food? Could be you're not getting enough salt perhaps. It might be all in my head, but adding salt to my diet does seem to help me with cramps.

    Calf compression - I own these and they seem to help me, always used to get cramp - I ran a double marathon with these back in June (on a hot day) and I was okay for the first 6 hours which is a massive improvement.

    Are you over hydrated? Too much fluid gets me cramping up.

  • This may or may not be relevant, but i had a similar problem, with cramping, and odd shoots of pain down into my calf, and it turned out to be an ITB problem. a week of foam roller massage had it sorted.

  • Get some sports massage; is your Achilles tight?
  • Sam, given the time scale, go to a sports physio if you can, to get it really worked on. Otherwise, if you have a partner or friend who is willing to massage it for you, get them to do so (starting gently, then firmer, and press-and-hold into the knotted area). Third best is to massage it yourself (baby oil works well for lubricating for massage; Boots own brand doesn't smell too horrible). Alternating heat and ice might help (seemed to help me after a cramp some months ago). Consider taking some ibuprofen to settle any inflammation. A few weeks ago I had a calf that was starting to cramp fror a period of about two days and it settled after three sessions of massage (I'm lucky my husband was willing to take the time to do this) over a period of 24 hours.

    Once it's settled, make sure you stretch your calves very well (gastrocnemius and soleus) after EVERY run and massage your calves night and morning. Consider wearing compression socks or calf guards when running - I know sevel people who swear by that.

    Good luck!

  • Thank you everyone! All very useful! Lets hope I make the hm!

  • Let us know how you get on!

  • what race you doing. Im in exactly the same situation as you and just put a thread on. Iv been see physio and he told me some exercises but decided to finish without injury next week will be more beneficial as got another onger race 4 weeks after the half. Mine left calf to and we worked it out to be my glute muscle that is lazy and causing the issue. Im stretching and using a tennis ball on the knots.When ever im stood still i be strtching bus stops. Standing on tip toes while brushing teeth etc. He then said to ice well when i can to but think im going use deep heat on race day and maybe ibruphen on race day morning. Let me know how you get on. Its robinhood im doing.

  • I know of this product called Cramp 911. I run a lot and i recently started to bring my friend with me. He started to develop cramps so i introduced him to this product. Almost instantaneously his cramp went away. The Cramp 911 also helps to prevent cramps, so i think that this can help you with your marathon. Good luck!

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